mirage (a story)


I had begun the journey across the desert with friends. Just a jaunt outside the city for an afternoon in the sun, looking for old relics. Dreaming of finding something in the style of Indiana Jones, Lara Croft or Sydney Fox. Stumbling across an archaeological find of the century. Maybe a lost tribe or a city that hadn’t been seen for centuries. Some piece of a culture’s puzzle, hidden from the world till this moment. Something we could put our names to.
It was obviously a dream, made of too much time wasted in front of the screen of movie or TV. But we were still young enough to dream. And apparently not yet old or smart enough to calculate the risks.
First we ran out of food, No big deal really. We were only a couple hours from the city. Young kids who could go a day or two with no harm. So we didn’t think much about it, until we got lost. And the water looked like the next casualty of our adventure. But still, we weren’t far from the city. Friends knew where we were headed. But we weren’t quite on the path we had told them we were taking. Hopefully unlike us, they would be armed with plenty of water and food.
The sun was beating down our heads. We were getting worried, but nobody was panicking as yet.
When we ran out of gas, we did the most stupid thing we could have done. It’s recommended to stay where you are, to stay with your vehicle. But being young, we thought we knew better. So we split up into couples and took off in different directions, to walk in the heat. With no food and no water.
We were fine for a few hours, my companion and I. Until we slid down a pile of sand and he broke his ankle in the slide. Or more to the point, the stop.
He sent me to get help. And I didn’t think much really about leaving him alone. It’s not like there were desert tribes who’d take him to the slave market. His worst fear was a snake, so I found him a stick and a few big stones and set off for aid. So we could get him to the hospital for an xray and cast. No big deal, right?
That’s how I came to be in the desert, wandering alone without food or water. Getting weird and dizzy, with a very dry mouth and tummy rumbles. Which grew worse and worse the more the heat of the day grew. The more tired I grew. I was despondent. I wanted my mommy. At this point anyone, but I kept seeing my mommy. I was so hungry, I was chewing on my tongue, my dry tongue. My left arm kept jerking and it looked like there were bugs or snakes inside. Which totally frightened me. I tried to get away from them, but how could I if they were inside me? I tried to run, but kept falling. I was never sure how long I was down. But I tried to keep moving.
Till I saw the sea open and there was a city, that looked like it was surrounded by waves and palm trees. So I went under a tree and asked the waiter to bring me a tall glass of water.
He never came back to me…

Many years later, a group of travellers came by this skeleton out in the middle of nowhere. Dressed in clothes that had been advertised about on the list of missing. They found the wallet and realized the name was the same. So they called it in.
Seems everyone else of my group had made it back to safety but me. I was in my heaven; a beach with a long, tall glass of water and a waiter hovering over me.

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